Jody Berland on 26 Jul 2000 17:04:38 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Re: <.nettime> Terror in Tune Town

This is the problem when you aim to become "non-philosophical." the
assumption in this contribution is that if it is not socially produced, then
it is natural, and if is natural, then its supply is infinite.  This is not
a good assumption to make.  In the present context, we need a new mode of
economic conjuration to figure out what we ought to pay for water, and yes,
though so far just as a (n (anticipated) collective cost,  for clean air.
    by the way how do you all have time to do anything else with all these
Jody Berland

-----Original Message-----
From: <>
To: <>
Date: July 26, 2000 9:59 AM
Subject: <nettime> Re: <.nettime> Terror in Tune Town

>In a message dated 7/25/00 5:34:51 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
>> I'm sorry, but the bottom line is IF YOU DIDN'T PAY FOR IT, IT ISN'T
>>  Artists invest their lives, and record companies invest money in their
>>  product.  You can't justify or rationalize away the fact that widespread
>>  _multipoint_ distribution of content without a quid pro quo is by
>>  definition, distribution of stolen property.
>I wanted to suggest a non-philosohical way of discussing the values of
>intellectual property, the labors of the artist, the labors of the
>distribution system etc.
>At just the rudimentary level of microeconomics (and this would be the
>of my economics background) it would seem that Napster has created a
>fundamental shift in supply and demand. They have created a market with an
>infinite supply.
>A supply/demand graph will show that as the supply of a product increases,
>the price decreases. It would be reasonable to infer that if supply is
>infinitely increased, the price would approach (and practically speaking,
>come to) zero.
>This would be true of any product. If the supply of bread increased (and
>demand stayed the same), the price of bread would decrease. If there was an
>infinite supply of bread, bread would cost nothing. And no matter how much
>labor was exerted to make the bread, the market could not bear a higher
>price, and as a result people in the bread production line would be forced
>accept no remuneration for their labor.
>Air, for example. Their is not a cash market for air, because, for
>purposes, the supply of air is infinite and no market could bear a monetary
>cost for the product.
>How would Napster be different? At the level of the album, cassette,
>disc, etc. there were limits on supply in any given market which allowed
>market to set price based. This does not hold within the Napster community.
>While an mp3 may materially exist as a file somewhere on someone's
>for all intents and purposes, the file exists in an infinite capacity as it
>can endlessly be replicated.
>I'll be honest. I'm not sure where to go from here with this argument. Will
>the producers stop making their products? Probably not. The bread maker in
>the infinite bread market would likely sustain their income by producing a
>different product. What alternative products can a musician make? A live
>is an example of a musical product with a limited supply. Musicians can
>their living touring, perhaps. (As Shakespeare made his living with stage
>productions of his plays, not by writing them or selling their text).
>Just a different way of approaching this debate. If they're around this
>I'd like to hear an economist's view on this.
>Douglas Leader
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